How To Cook A Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving is about gratitude, appreciation, abundance, and family. Food, and the sharing of it, is central to the spirit of this festival. Staples like turkey, gravy, stuffing, potatoes, veggies, and pie have generally stayed faithful to traditional recipes, but modern food trends and dietary preferences have led to adaptations that move with the times. We've put together a few recipes that are a great representation of traditional Thanksgiving but also suit modern sensibilities.

Main Dish

Roast Turkey

Thanksgiving feasts are always made extra special with roast turkey as the main dish. Make sure to have enough turkey to feed everyone, and save some for yourself as well. 

How to make it


1 Whole Turkey

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Vegetable oil

1 lemon quartered

1 onion quartered

Fresh thyme

Fresh rosemary

2 cups chicken stock


For the Gravy

4 cups of turkey or chicken broth, 

6 tablespoons all-purpose flour (Maida)

6 tablespoons melted butter


1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Preparing the Turkey

Keep the frozen turkey in the wrapping in a vessel and allow it to thaw completely.

After that remove the wrapping and place it on baking sheet/ tray and remove the giblets and neck from the turkey cavity and throw away. Do not wash the turkey.

Pat the turkey down with paper towels to dry and if its looking dirty then wash it with soap and water.

Now place it on a pan on the rack and tuck its wing tips under it. 

Preheat an oven to 190 C.

Rub the turkey with vegetable oil and season the skin and cavity with salt and pepper. Add the herbs, lemon, and onion in its cavity and put the stock in the roasting pan.

Roasting the Turkey

Place the turkey in the oven and roast it till the skin turns golden brown. Put a food thermometer into its thigh to check the temperature; it should be 80F in the thigh and at least 71F in the breast. 

Allow the turkey to rest for 30-40 minutes while you make the gravy.

Turkey Gravy 

Make the Gravy

Strain out the pan drippings, throw away the solids, and reserve 3 cups. If it’s less than 3 cups of drippings, then you can add some chicken or turkey broth to make it 3 cups.

Place a pan on medium heat, melt 6 tablespoons of butter and whisk it in 6 tablespoons of flour, then cook for 2 minutes.

Add in the reserved pan drippings and allow it to simmer while stirring continuously. It will thicken in 5 minutes, 

Season with salt and pepper.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving Turkey with the gravy, Cranberry sauce and a sweet potato side dish.


Cranberry Sauce

There are a variety of cranberry sauce recipes out there to enrich your turkey, and they're all very simple to make. You can make your own sauce using citrus flavoring, liqueur, or spices:


200g sugar

250ml water

4 cups fresh/ frozen cranberries

1 bowl of Pecans, Orange zest, Raisins, Currants, Blueberries, Cinnamon, Nutmeg.


Rinse the cranberries and place them in a colander.

Boil the sugar in water.

Add the cranberries and boil them in the sugar water for 10 minutes or more till they burst.

Add the chopped pecans, pinch of orange zest, raisins, blueberries, pinch of holiday spices like cinnamon, nutmeg. 

Remove the pot from heat and allow it to cool. Allow it to chill in the refrigerator.

Serve it along with your turkey.

Side Dish

Sweet Potato with Marshmallows  

Sweet potatoes are root vegetables, and are a must-have side dish at a Thanksgiving dinner table. Here is how you can make a scrumptious sweet potato side dish for your family dinner: 


1 kg of canned sweet potatoes

Salt to taste

½ cup butter cut in slices

1/2 cup brown sugar

3 cups of tiny marshmallow pieces


Preheat your oven to 200 C and grease a 9x13 baking dish.

Spread the canned sweet potatoes in the bottom of your prepared baking dish.

Sprinkle some salt over them and add the butter slices on top. 

Sprinkle the brown sugar over the sweet potatoes and then a layer of mini marshmallows.

Bake in the center of the oven's middle rack at 200C for 30 minutes till the sweet potatoes are bubbling and the marshmallows are melted.

And here we are. Ready to have a delicious Thanksgiving dinner with the family gathered around the table and a thankful heart for all the blessings we’ve received.